Ethno-cultural Diversity and Human Rights – Taking Stock and Looking Ahead

A one-day international symposium hosted by the Department of Law, School of Law and Social Justice in collaboration with the International Law and Human Rights Unit.

Tuesday 3rd May 2016.

This international symposium will consider traditional and innovative ways in which human rights can inform analyses about ethno-cultural groups as well as broader questions regarding the management of cultural diversity within plural societies.

In an age of globalisation, integration, conflict and economic austerity questions of group protection regularly feature in international and domestic debates. From secessionist and post-conflict disputes to claims to land and natural resources, to more fundamental struggles for group recognition, equality, and distinctive forms of cultural, educational and/or religious rights, the articulation of claims made by minority groups draws heavily on the language of human rights and the international norms that underpin them. But how, if at all, do human rights affect claims to equality, religious or cultural autonomy, decision-making authority over territory, national resources and/or the environment, or even statehood? And conversely, how, if at all, do such claims affect our contemporary understanding of ‘human rights’?

The symposium will take a fresh look at the evolving relationship between ethno-cultural diversity and human rights and the sort of collective dimensions of protection that human rights/human rights law are capable (or incapable) of producing in a number of distinctive legal and policy contexts. Built around five themed sessions, it will provide a unique opportunity to bring international lawyers, legal theorists, political scientists and human rights experts together to discuss the impact of ethno-cultural diversity on human rights (and vice versa) by reference to collective interests in human rights theory, selected aspects of public international law, participation/autonomy models, checks on domestic policies, and post-conflict approaches.

The symposium is open for attendance by all interested individuals, including academics, practitioners and policy-makers. The event will be of particular interest to human rights scholars and experts, students, postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers working in the broad fields of international law, legal theory and political science, as well as non-governmental organisations.

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